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Kaua‘i Filipino Chamber of Commerce installs latest president, board

HANAMA‘ULU — In its first live event in over two years, the Kaua‘i Filipino Chamber of Commerce invited members to celebrate each other and the organization during its awards and installation gala.

Held at the Kaua‘i Beach Resort Saturday evening, Laurie Yoshida and Cyndi Ayonon were both honored as members of the year for their significant contributions to the organization. Ayonon was also installed as president.

“I am humbled to have been elected to serve as president of this venerable organization,” Ayonon said. “Admittedly, it’s a daunting role, but I assure you, I wholeheartedly accept this challenge.”

Ayonon has been a part of the KFCC since 2011, and has since served in every position on the board as well as the Scholarship Committee chair. Her husband, Bobby Ayonon, served a two-year term as KFCC president, beginning in 2015.

“Over the years, my involvement with KFCC has been a positive leadership and educational experience, learning from predecessors like Oscar Portugal and Ernie Pasion,” she said. “Now I would like to do the same and mentor and recruit new members so they, too, can develop their abilities and empower themselves into a leadership role.”

Ayonon is also a member of the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i, an international women’s-empowerment organization. Within the group, she serves as the Zonta Foundation treasurer and chair of the Christmas Fund, helping to raise funds for those in need during the holiday season. She additionally is active on the board of the Kaua‘i Federal Credit Union and is the vice president of the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank board.

”She is a collaborator, connector and a leader in her own right,” Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i, said of Ayonon. “Her beautiful smile, positive energy and focus on community will be key ingredients to leading the Kaua‘i Filipino chamber and allow it to fulfill its critical role in supporting your local businesses and move Kaua‘i forward.”

Ayonon hopes to “reignite and take this organization to the next level.”

“It was quite an undertaking logistically to get vaccine cards and test results in, but the hotel and everyone were so glad to come together to somewhat celebrate as we have so much to be thankful for,” Ayonon said, reflecting on the event. “I would like to thank outgoing President Randy Francisco for his leadership.”

Francisco, during the evening, expressed his comfort in passing KFCC into Ayonon hands, as he emceed the event alongside Marynel Valenzuela, who offered quips throughout the evening.

Francisco led the KFCC throughout the pandemic, navigating the challenges of virtual gatherings in-lieu of in-person meetings, finding new ways to fundraise and encouraging the community. He will continue to be involved with the organization.

Moments of silence were held for past director Jonathan Fabian and former state Rep. Ezra Kanoho, who both made grand impacts on those around them and for the community.

Mayor Derek Kawakami said Kanoho had a way of making everybody around him feel special. Kawakami later in the night received an honor for meritorious service, a rare award for his leadership of the county during the pandemic. He noted some of the numerous disasters of the last two years, including the Hanalei and Waimea landslides.

The night was anchored by a keynote presentation by Kaua‘i Community College Chancellor Joseph Daisy highlighting the importance of education and collaboration.

“As the college reviews the mission statement for currency and relevance, particularly in light of the ways in which the landscape has been impacted during the pandemic, KCC will be engaging our community and businesses to inform the college’s next strategic plan, including the possibility of a college housing feasibility study through the University of Hawai‘i Design Center,” Daisy said.

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Sabrina Bodon, editor, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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